Chrysler has just issued a recall of 895,000 vehicles for a potential fire hazard. Specifically, 651,000 of its Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Dodge Durango SUV models 2011-2014 manufactured in the United States. Also 500,000 Fords are being investigated for steering problems.
The source of the problem in the Chrysler vehicles comes from the wiring in the vanity mirror. The vehicles that have been recalled were “involved in a repair related to servicing the vanity mirror and/or headliner, the wiring — located inside the sun visor — may be subject to short-circuit and fire if not appropriately reassembled by the dealer. This condition is not present in vehicles which have not had the headliner or vanity mirror serviced.”
The affected wiring for the vanity mirror is located in the sun visor. The sun visors are attached by three screws, which are thought to be puncturing through the wiring. This may cause a short and eventually the vehicle headliner can catch on fire.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that there have been three injuries and 62 reports of fires. Once federal regulators began to look into this problem Chrysler issued a recall.
Last August, the NHTSA began looking into fires in the Jeep Grand Cherokee model. Initially the recall only covered 146,000 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee models but in January Chrysler expanded it to include two more Jeep model years and the Durango. Chrysler has not yet issued a schedule for repairs for the recalled vehicles.
The NHTSA has also began a preliminary investigation into 500,000 Ford Crown Victorias, Mercury Grand Marquis and Mercury Marauders from model years 2004-2007 for steering shaft problems that could be the cause of five complaints and possibly one injury. The agency said “the driver’s side exhaust manifold heat shield can rust and become dislodged, potentially jamming the steering shaft.”
There has been one report of the steering shaft locking up in the highway resulting in a crash and rollover. The NHTSA investigation of the problem may take as long as six months before any recommendations are made.